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Digital Platforms and Cultural Industries

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Edited By Philippe Bouquillion and François Moreau

The assessment of the challenges of digital platforms for cultural industries raises many different issues. How platforms choices in content pricing affect the overall value of cultural markets, especially in the case where content just aim at favoring devices’ sales? How are revenues shared between platforms and content right holders? Do creators and artists all benefit from the growth of digital platforms? How usual business models of cultural industries have to adapt to the digital paradigm? Should we observe rather a reinforcement of the star system or the emergence of a long tail? What is the impact on market concentration? Could we expect an increase or a decrease in cultural diversity? What is the role played by recommender systems, playlists and algorithms in influencing consumers’ choices? How to implement efficient public policies given the transnational dimension of digital platforms? The various papers gathered in this book contribute further to these different topics with a focus on empirical issues. The first part gathers the contributions dealing with the analysis of the impact that digital platforms have on the incumbent or legacy players of the original value chain of content industries: content providers, live entertainment producers, consumers, etc. The second part opens the black box of the ecosystem of digital platforms by studying competition among them and among the business models they adopt, as well as the conditions for the emergence of new players.

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Associations in the Creative Industries as Operators of Digital Platforms: Failure Factors, with an Example from the German Book Industry in the Focus (Bläsi, Christoph)

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Associations in the Creative Industries as Operators of Digital Platforms: Failure Factors, with an Example from the German Book Industry in the Focus

Christoph Bläsi

Introduction

The wider context of this contribution is the discourse on digital platforms in the cultural industries. The platforms in focus here, most of them in essence e-book e-commerce sites, are probably not European Platforms in the sense of the Creative Europe program of the European Commission which supports activities “for cultural operators promoting emerging artists and stimulating a truly European programming of cultural and artistic work” (European Commission, n.d.). According to economics categories, they are, however, platforms. To be exact, they are platforms with cross-sided network effects, because they – beyond just acting as merchants – “follow the logic of a triangular affiliation: they create value by facilitating interactions between seller[s] and customers affiliating with the platform. Their utility is affected by participation and usage on the opposite side of the market” (Hoelck, Cremer, & Ballon, 2016, August, p. 5). Also according to Hoelck et al. and as we will discuss in more detail, “platform companies profit from cross-sided network effects which lead to increased market concentration (winner-takes-it-all dynamic[s]) and high entry barriers (chicken-and-egg effect)” (2016, August, p. 1).

Making use of the latter, with their specific assets and competencies (see below), U.S. ICT and media companies have realized their potential to dominate the distribution of digital media – from books to music and films – nationally...

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